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AUN, UNHCR empowers 300 IDPs in Adamawa


Some of the beneficiaries displaying their crafts

Some of the beneficiaries displaying their crafts

THE American University of Nigeria (AUN) in partnership with the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has trained 300 internally displaced women in Adamawa State on skill acquisition for economic empowerment and self-reliance.

The beneficiaries who are vulnerable women drawn from affected insurgency affected local government areas of the state were selected by UNHCR with support from the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian in Yola recently, the Coordinator of the training program, Dr. Jennifer Che, said the United Nation provided about ‎N13 million for the programme, which kicked off in December 2015.

She noted that the training was aimed at reducing the psychological trauma suffered by the displaced women and to find a way of providing them with employment opportunities through self-reliance.

She said: “We got a consultant in from the United States of America and we trained several women from various NGO on how to transform waste nylon bags into objects of art; handbags and purses.

“United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) got in touch with us and also offered us money to train IDPs and we are now training 300 IDPs from Jimeta and Yola for 30days (six weeks)”.

She revealed that the United Nations has promised to extend the programme to other IDP camps across the country.

According to her, the United Nations y would also like to expand the programme, adding that “and we are working on the next round which might be about N20, 000,000”.

She noted that the programme was developed from disposed plastic bags, such as nylon bags used to carry groceries and other retail products, which litter the environment and constitute health hazards to human beings and animals.

She said: “The main reason this project was established was that one of the first things that impacted on us as a foreigner when we come to Yola, is the waste; they are just thrown everywhere and we are not used to that. In Europe we don’t see this amount of rubbish in the street, so its quite shocking.

Of cause, being an environmental scientist, plastic is one of the worst offenders, not just that its unsightly, it is poisonous, its never degrades, it stays for life and what they do here in terms of burning the trash releases the fumes and those fumes are toxic, which means if you inhale it regularly, your life span will be cut by ten years. We wanted to find a solution for that, so the solution was what we could we do with plastic, so we came up with this idea”.

The coordinator also said AUN would continue to promote women participation in peace building and entrepreneurship, especially for those displaced by the insurgency in the state.

“The programme is in its third year. We have a core group of maybe 100 to 200 ladies that we have trained here from Yola. 100 of them come regularly and we used to train every Wednesday at AUN. By now, we have master trainers that are at the top level and they help in training the new members.

According to her, to motivate the trainees, AUN provides a meal a day during the six weeks of training, while adding that the trainees also receive free training materials including crocheting needles, scissors, and nylon bags.

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